Living with Technology
The start of every new year is a time when many of us make resolutions to do things differently -- and presumably, better.
Well, here are mine:
Simplify: Over the course of the years, the technology in my home has continued to grow. Multiple computers, multiple printers and wireless connections, among other devices, make running a home an even more challenging task.
While the growth of technology usually means an increased need, sometimes the technology grows just for fun.
I resolve that when a new computer or device enters my home, it will replace another piece that is on its way out. By doing so, I will at least keep the number of physical devices in my home from growing.
Don't download stuff: The Internet has made it so easy to download stuff, whether it be music, videos, software or something else. Downloading music and videos generally only takes up space.
Downloading software can cause major disruptions to your computer due to hardware or software conflicts on the "nice" end to viruses and bugs on the "not nice" end of the spectrum.
Before I download any software, I will think twice about whether I really need the software and whether it's worth risking the loss of my computer for a few days if the software doesn't play nice with everything else on my computer.
Backup my data: Luckily, I'm pretty good at this. I use the Mozy (www.mozy.com) service to back up my data on the Internet, but there are other similar ones such as Carbonite that essentially do the same thing.
What I like about these online backup services is that they tend to run when I'm not using my computer and they store it outside of my home. While home-based backups are much faster and cheaper, the problem is that if a fire, flood, or other disaster hits my home, both my computer and the backup will probably be destroyed. To me, the $50 per year that these services charge is worth every penny.
Get a personal mobile device: We used to call these telephones, but mobile devices are now really portable computers that have a phone function on them. While I have used PDAs and other mobile devices for business for years, I've avoided getting one for myself.
While I enjoy going "offline" for a while, I'm finding more and more uses for these mobile devices, such as GPS, mapping, and, yes, personal e-mail. Right now, the iPhone and Google Droid phones are my top contenders, but new versions are coming out all the time.
I do want to have one that I can use for wireless Internet access for my laptop when I travel so I don't have to pay an additional monthly fee for wireless Internet access.
Cut telecom costs: As my technology usage has increased, so has my telecom costs. From land lines to Internet access and mobile phone plans, it seems as though my telecom costs continue to rise.
I resolve to review all of my telecom costs in order to see what I really need and what I don't need, and then take corrective steps to ensure I'm paying the least amount for what I really need. It's the plethora of carriers and plans that make this hard to do.
So, while all of these items will take time, each one will make my life easier and better. Let me know what your New Year's tech resolutions are.
Mark Mathias, a 30-plus-year veteran of information technology and a resident of Westport, was named by Computer World magazine to their list of "Premier 100 IT Leaders." Contact him through his blog at http://living-with-technology.blogspot.com/